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Four Hinterland Villages Get Solar Electricity

During the first half of 2008, homes in the hinterland villages of Capoey, Muritaro, Kurukubaru and Yarakita were provided with electricity from Solar Home Systems. A 125-watt solar electricity (photovoltaic) system was installed in each home to provide lighting, and power to play a radio or CD player for information and entertainment.  A total of 337 households benefited as a result.

In addition, the primary school in each of the four villages received a 250-Watt system for lighting, and to power equipment such as a computer, TV and DVD player. Prior to the installation of the solar systems, the residents of these villages had little or no access to electricity. Households were using mainly kerosene lamps, candles, and in some cases, burning wood for lighting.

The four villages were electrified under the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) sponsored Unserved Areas Electrification Programme (UAEP). One component of the UAEP seeks to extend existing electricity grids along the coast to unserved coastal communities. Another component, referred to as the Hinterland Component, aims at examining and developing ways to provide and expand electricity access to hinterland areas, which are too far away for the extension of existing grids to be feasible. Accordingly, a number of demonstration projects, using appropriate technologies and locally available energy sources, are to be implemented in selected communities to test their feasibility for possible replication in other hinterland locations. The four villages received solar electricity as part of the first set of demonstration projects.

The demonstration projects also seek to test the institutional and administrative arrangements for the sustainability of the projects. Like most of the hinterland villages, Capoey, Muritaro, Kurukubaru and Yarakita are Amerindian villages. Each of these villages has a Village Council responsible for its administration. As such the Village Council in the four villages was given the responsible for the maintenance of the systems. Each Council has access to at least four villagers that were trained during project execution to carry out technical maintenance. For the financial sustainability of the project, each household is to pay a monthly fee of G$500 (US$2.50) to the Village Council. This fee is set at less than what the average household was spending for less efficient lighting such as from kerosene lamp and candles. However, the fee is expected to be increased by G$100 every two years.

Since the solar systems were installed, feedback from the villages indicates an increase in afterdusk economic activities such as reading, sewing and craftmaking, facilitated by the improved lighting.

Category/ies:Guyana News.
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